Robotic process automation isn’t something new, as it is already a hot topic in IT, with Gartner labeling RPA as one of the fastest growing IT categories last year.
If you aren’t familiar with it, RPA is a subset of artificial intelligence (AI) that enables IT groups to configure software bots to capture data and perform automated tasks.
As more enterprises start to understand the power behind intelligent capture and process automation, and the number of legacy processes they can optimize, the RPA market will only continue to grow in 2020.
Below is a short summary of 6 key intelligent capture and RPA trends to watch out for this year.
1. Robotic Process Automation will continue to grow and become a billion-dollar industry
As mentioned earlier, RPA will continue to be a hot market for growth in the industry. RPA has been of high interest for a while now, but adoption is only now starting to catch up.
According to Gartner, spending on RPA software is projected to reach $1 billion in 2020, with a compound annual growth rate of 41%. Forrester has also predicted that the RPA market will total $2.9 billion by 2021.
Furthermore, over 70% of business leaders have stated that they plan to invest more in the deployment and development of RPA, according to the Institute for RPA and AI Survey.
2. RPA will merge as a complementary IT software
Robotic process automation technology has been known to integrate well with out existing technology and will only continue to play the role of a complementary application for existing processes.
According to Deloitte, almost 53% of finance professionals are planning RPA-driven digital controllership improvements in the year to come, including AP automation and financial analysis.
RPA will not replace back-office applications like procurement and financial processing, but rather enhance them by lightening the processes for staff that manage those operations.
3. IT Automation and RPA will not entail widespread job losses
For many years, the future of robots and IT automation were thought to lead to job losses, as AI did things faster, smarter and with fewer HR headaches.
However, according to an HBR report, the impact of various RPA implementations showed that replacing administrative staff was neither the primary objective or a common outcome in 47% of the projects deployed.
In most cases, only a handful of those RPA projects lead to reductions in staff, as most tasks had already been outsourced beforehand.
RPA and other forms for IT automation are meant to change people’s jobs for the better, but this will also require real leadership and change through new management and governance approaches.
RPA is meant to only eliminate the need to allocate human capital for manual repetitive tasks, so that human resources can be allocated to higher priority tasks that involve real decisions that an RPA robot wouldn’t be able to make.
For example, back-office invoice and accounting processes don’t have to change, but they can be performed at a much higher rate by RPA bots that are designed to adapt and automatically mange the right responses.
RPA will also transform job roles from entry-level all the way to the C-level, as enterprises achieve new levels of efficiency and productivity.
There will be more crossover between the chief HRO and CIO roles as enterprises begin to mesh together human and digital workers.
4. RPA bots will become tools for risk management and security
Robotic process automation is most commonly seen as a productive tool, eliminating repetitive manual processes.
However, RPA and other forms for IT automation will also become a bigger part of information security strategies, because bots can help reduce the most universal risk of all – human errors.
RPA is becoming a bigger deal for security, especially as it is increasingly paired with more AI technologies.
RPA bots are great for mitigating human error as they are perfectly suited to handle data-sensitive tasks without error, saving time and reducing security risks.
5. Enterprises will begin their AI journey with RPA
It isn’t easy to change corporate culture with AI, especially for long-standing established processes.
This is where RPA will come in. Robotic process automation is the most cost effective and simplest tool to implement of the AI technologies, according to an HBR study.
RPA can be easily deployed as a complementary technology to traditional processes and is a great way to get started in the process of AI.
6. Robotic Process Automation will result in ROI-positive investments
RPA has been found to reduce the cost of transactional processes by 50-75%, across everything from back-office operations to front office processes.
When one IT automation technology can provide such a financial benefit, especially when the costs benefits outweigh the dollar investment, it will gain rapid traction with many executives.
In fact, a study by PWC showed that companies expect to be ROI positive in fewer than 14 months of deploying their RPA projects, making RPA a solid business investment.